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CAC member hopes Q&A quells crime concerns

Columbus police officer will take questions from public at March 7 gathering

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Dana K.J. Bagwell isn't worried about getting people to attend a meeting she's organized for Friday, March 7.

"I feel like the motivation is there," the Clintonville Area Commission member said last week.

It would seem to be; as of late last week, 37 people had indicated they would come.

With some prodding from a member of the Clintonville Crime and Block Watch Facebook page, Bagwell has arranged for Lt. Gregory Bodker, supervisor of the Columbus Division of Police property crimes bureau since late October, to speak to residents about break-ins and other crimes in the neighborhood.

The get-together will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. March 7 at Clinton Heights Lutheran Church, 15 Clinton Heights Ave.

The venue was changed from the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library after the strong response.

"There have been some concerns about recent break-ins and burglaries in Clintonville," Bagwell said.

Bodker said he is scheduled to be accompanied to the gathering by police Cmdr. Bob Meader and Ted Stacey, the new neighborhood liaison officer for the precinct that includes Clintonville.

"My goal, when Dana and I initially talked, was to present or offer information that would be helpful to everyone in the Clintonville area or at least the Block Watches there," the nine-year veteran of the division said last week.

Bodker said he offered to give a presentation on a topic of Bagwell's choice, or just to respond to questions from residents. She chose the latter.

To give as many people a chance to have their issues addressed as possible, Bagwell said she has been soliciting questions in advance via Facebook. Primarily, people want advice on alarm systems, the safest places to keep valuables in a home, and whether having a gun makes one safer or more likely to have it turned on them, she said.

"It is a partnership, first of all, between the community and the police department," Bodker said. "People have different questions about something that they've heard has happened to a neighbor or things that have happened to them."

The lieutenant said he hopes to provide those who attend the meeting with information about property-crime investigations and procedures.

"I think it will help to hear from Lt. Bodker about crime in other parts of Columbus and put the crimes in Clintonville in perspective," Bagwell said. "I don't think a lot of people understand the process that's involved with actually going and reclaiming stolen items."

"I am not a big excuses guy," Bodker said. "I'm not there to offer excuses as to why we can or cannot do something."

The main thing the property-crimes bureau supervisor wants people to take away from the meeting is how much of a partnership crime prevention requires, he said.

"We want to make your community safer, as does everyone who participates in Block Watch," Bodker said. "We have the same goal. Sometimes it's just communication and coordination."

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